McDonnell Douglas F-15C Baz: The Eagle of David

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History
After the French arms embargo in 1967, the Israeli Air Force began the transition from French supplied arms to American weaponry. The embargo made Israel recognize its need for self-reliant arms industry, but it was not an easy goal for aircraft. IAF established a team named ‘Hadish’ (‘new’ or ‘modern’ in Hebrew) to evaluate requirements for the next generation fighter. However Hadish’s work stopped because of Yom-Kippur War in 1973, and the war itself shocked Israel.

In search for the advanced fighters to maintain air superiority against Arab Air Forces’ MiG-23 and MiG-25, Israel began evaluating Grumman F-14 Tomcat and McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle. While both fighters impressed Israeli test pilots, IAF concluded that the F-15 is superior to the F-14 in all aspects relevant to IAF operations. The Israeli designation of F-15 is ‘Baz’, which means ‘Falcon’ in Hebrew.

By the Peace Fox I program, Israel received first F-15A in December 1977. And follow-on program named Peace Fox II in 1982 added F-15C/Ds to the IAF inventory. During 1984 to 1985, IAF received another F-15C/D under Peace Fox III program. Before the F-15I Ra’am, Israel acquired more F-15s via Peace Fox IV/V.

From 1979 to 1988, Baz shot down more than 50 Syrian aircraft without a single loss. As of 2023, IAF still operates number of Baz along with Ra’am.

Design
Airframe, Engine

The airframe of the F-15C Baz is an improved one, based on that of the F-15A. Thanks to the added fuel tanks, F-15C could hold about 2,000 lb (907 kg) more fuel internally. Due to the increased weight, some parts of the airframe were strengthened to handle extra weight. The main gear wheels were changed too.

To boost range and endurance, F-15C could be equipped with conformal fuel tanks (CFTs). F-15C’s CFTs with missile launcher weighs 2,349 lb (1,065 kg) and could hold 10,100 lb (4,581 kg) of fuel. It is also drag efficient, since drag number of two CFTs (4.0) are less than that of the single 610 gallon external tank (5.5 or 12.2, depends on stations).

F-15C Baz uses F100-PW-220 engine with digital electronic engine control. The PW-220 engine solved several issues of the PW-100 engine, while reducing in 300 lb (136 kg) and 400 lb (180 kg) reduction in each dry and afterburning thrust. But the dynamic thrust was improved throughout most of the flight envelope due to more efficient power and fuel distribution.

Avionics

Specifications of the AN/APG-63 PSP radar

Antenna gimbal limit: ±60° (both azimuth and elevation)

Scale:

  • Range: 10/20/40/80/160 NM (19/37/74/148/296 km)
  • Azimuth: 20/60/120°

Elevation scan pattern: 1/2/4/6/8 bar
Beamwidth: 2.5°
Scan rate: 70°/s
Frequency: I band
Waveform: HPRF, MPRF
Radar mode:

  • Long Range Search (SRC PD)
    - Effective range: ~ 80 NM (150 km)

    - Waveform: HPRF, MPRF, Interleaved

  • Short Range Search (SRC PD)
    - Range scale: 10/20/40 NM (19/37/74 km)

    - Waveform: MPRF

  • Velocity Search (SRC PDV HDN)
    - Velocity scale: 80 ~ 1,800 kts (150 ~ 3,330 km/h)

    - Waveform: HPRF

  • Raid Assessment
    - Range scale: 35 NM (65 km)

    - Max No. of target tracks: 4

    - Waveform: MPRF

  • Single Target Track (TRK PD)
  • Flood
    - Effective range: ~ 8 NM (15 km)

  • Boresight (ACM PD)
    - Range: 500 ft ~ 10 NM (0.15 ~ 19 km)

    - Scan area: 4° × 4°

    - Waveform: MPRF

  • Vertical Scan (ACM PD)
    - Range: 500 ft ~ 10 NM (0.15 ~ 19 km)

    - Scan area: 7.5° in azimuth, +5° ~ +45° in elevation (7.5° × 40°)

    - Waveform: MPRF

F-15C Baz uses AN/APG-63 PSP, the upgraded AN/APG-63 with programmable signal processor. The major differences between original APG-63 and APG-63 PSP is the addition of Raid Assessment mode for break out closely spread multiple targets, and superseded non-doppler mode. Original Pulse Search (PS) mode of APG-63 utilized low PRF waveform for look-up condition, but it was changed to medium PRF in APG-63 PSP.

Another notable feature is the Non-Cooperative Target Recognition (NCTR), which added to F-15C by MSIP II program. With the NCTR, the pilot could recognize type of enemy aircraft by radar reflection of engine fan blades. The effectiveness of NCTR proved during the Gulf War, because the rules of the engagement required at least two methods to identifying targets.

Armament

The Baz has a built-in M61A1 20 mm gatling gun with 940 rounds of ammo, and capable of carry four Python and AIM-7 Sparrow missiles each. In late 1990s, Israeli F-15s are upgraded to ‘Improved Baz’ standard and AIM-120 AMRAAM became operational.



Unlike the U.S. Air Force, the Israeli Air Force actually used Baz as a multi-role fighter. Along with unguided bombs, GBU-15 electro-optical guided bomb was integrated to some Baz. Later the Popeyee, SPICE 2000 and GBU-31 JDAM also added to the list.

Specifications
Crew: 1
Length: 63.75 ft (19.43 m)
Wingspan: 42.81 ft (13.05 m)
Height: 18.45 ft (5.62 m)
Wing area: 608 sq ft (56.48 m²)
Aspect ratio: 3.01
Weight:

  • Operating weight (including pilot, oil, unusable fuel):
  • 29,000 lb (13,154 kg) w/o CFTs
  • 31,000 lb (14,061 kg) with CFTs
  • Gross weight (full internal fuel, centerline fuel tank, 4× LAU-114 launcher):
  • 48,500 lb (22,000 kg) w/o CFTs
  • 60,500 lb (27,442 kg) with CFTs
  • Maximum takeoff weight: 68,000 lb (30,844 kg)

Fuel (JP-8):

  • Internal: 13,850 lb (6,282 kg)
  • Conformal: 10,100 lb (4,581 kg) with 2× CFTs
  • External: 12,300 lb (5,579 kg) with 3× 610 gallon fuel tanks

Powerplant: 2× F100-PW-220/220E

  • Intermediate thrust: 14,370 lb (63.9 kN)
  • Maximum thrust: 23,450 lb (104.3 kN)

Performances:

  • Maximum speed (50% fuel, clean):
  • @ Sea Level: Mach 1.2
  • @ 35,000 ft (10.6 km): Mach 2.2
  • Altitude: 65,000 ft (19.8 km)
  • Time to climb from sea level (50% fuel, 4× AIM-7, 4× LAU-114):
  • To 10,000 ft: 21 seconds
  • To 20,000 ft: 51 seconds
  • To 30,000 ft: 78 seconds
  • Time to accelerate from Mach 0.46 (altitude 10,000 ft, 60% fuel, clean):
  • To Mach 0.6: 5 seconds
  • To Mach 0.8: 13.5 seconds
  • To Mach 1.0: 21.5 seconds
  • To Mach 1.2: 39 seconds
  • Maximum instantaneous turn rate (altitude 10,000 ft, 50% fuel, 4× AIM-7): 28.5°/s (at 300 KCAS)
  • Turn radius at maximum instantaneous turn rate: 1,660 ft (0.51 km)
  • Maximum sustained turn rate (50% fuel, clean):
  • @ Sea Level: 20.5°/s (at 475 KCAS)
  • @ 10,000 ft (3 km): 16.5°/s (at 505 KCAS)
  • @ 20,000 ft (6 km): 12.25°/s (at 415 KCAS)
  • @ 30,000 ft (9 km): 8.5°/s (at 340 KCAS)
  • Turn radius at maximum sustained turn rate:
  • @ Sea Level: 2,242 ft (0.68 km)
  • @ 10,000 ft (3 km): 3,344 ft (1.02 km)
  • @ 20,000 ft (6 km): 4,267 ft (1.3 km)
  • @ 30,000 ft (9 km): 5,921 ft (1.8 km)
  • Maximum allowable load factor: -3.0 ~ +9.0 g
  • Takeoff distance: 900 ft (0.27 km)
  • Landing distance: 2,500 ft (0.76 km)
  • Minimum control speed: 100 knot (185 km/h)

Armament:

  • Hardpoints: 7 total (2× under wing, 5× under fuselage)
  • Gun: 1× M61A1 20 mm gun (940 rounds)
  • Air-to-air missiles:
  • AIM-7F/M Sparrow
  • AIM-9G/L/P Sidewinder
  • AIM-120B/C-7 AMRAAM (B: since 1999, C-7: since 2007)
  • Python 3/4/5
  • Guided bombs:
  • GBU-15
  • GBU-31 JDAM
  • Popeye
  • SPICE 2000
  • Unguided bombs:
  • Mk 82/84 general-purpose bomb
  • Mk 82 Snakeye high-drag bomb

Avionics:

  • Radar: AN/APG-63 PSP
  • RWR: AN/ALR-56A
  • HMD: DASH III
  • Countermeasures: 8× AN/ALE-40/45 (240 total)

Sources

  • Aeroguide 19 - McDonnell Douglas F-15A/B/C/D Eagle by Roger Chesneau
  • An Illustrated Guide to Modern Fighter Combat (1987) by Mike Spick
  • Aircraft of the Israeli Air Force 5: McDonnell Douglas / Boeing F-15 Baz by Ra’anan Weiss and Alon Koren
  • Crowood Aviation Series: McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle by Peter E. Davies and Tony Thornborough
  • Eagle Talk from McDonnell Douglas
  • F-15 Armament Handbook from McDonnell Douglas
  • F-15 Eagle at War by Tyson V. Rininger
  • F-15 Eagle in Action: Aircraft Number 183 by Al Adcock
  • F-15 Eagle in detail & scale by Bert Kinzey
  • F-15イーグル Flight Manual & Air-to-Air Weapon Delivery Manual 日本語訳永久保存版 by 青木謙知
  • McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle: Supreme Heavy-Weight Fighter by Dennis R. Jenkins
  • Modern Military Aircraft: Eagle by Lou Drendel
  • Osprey Combat Aircraft 67: Israeli F-15 Eagle Units in Combat by Shlomo Aloni
  • Osprey Combat Aircraft Series: F-15 Eagle by Mike Spick
  • Walk Around No.28: F-15 Eagle by Lou Drendel
  • WarbirdTech Series Volume 9: McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle by Dennis R. Jenkins
10 Likes

+1 yess

1 Like

+1 Yes, I am looking forward to seeing the F-15 combined with HMD and Python-4!

+1 for me!

Suggestion passed to the developers for consideration.

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